Apparently slighted because he was not informed of the opening of the now famous destination Dolomite Beach last Sunday that drew a huge number of visitors, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has dared the IATF to file appropriate charges against the people behind the project.
AS head of the city hosting the artificial dolomite sand beach, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno Domagoso expected nothing less than a permission from him to open the beach to the public last weekend.
But he got none and was shocked at seeing overcrowding of people including small children in the beach area.
Infuriated, he is now challenging the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), which sets the health protocols for the public to follow-- to file appropriate charges against officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for reportedly violating such protocols and exposing the country to super spreader event.
In a television interview, Moreno, a presidential aspirant in the 2022 elections, said it is the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which has control over the area.
“I am calling IATF: Charge those people in DENR [for] violating our rules. If we cannot implement it in their offices, then there is no point to implement it sa mga taumbayan [to the public],” he said in an interview on ANC.
Moreno also called on all the member agencies of the IATF to charge their colleagues in the national government over violation of COVID-19 health protocols during the dolomite beach incident.
Moreno said he had warned some DENR personnel that the city government might conduct arrests if health protocols are not observed during the opening of the dolomite beach.
At the Palace briefing, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said he has yet to personally hear about Moreno's challenge to the IATF.
He admitted shortcoming on the part of the DENR but added that this was addressed immediately.
"Sinasabi nila na nagkaroon ng violation ng social distancing. Immediately, na-address po yan," Antiporda said. "Nagkulang ng kaunti pero naagapan po."
On Tuesday, as part of its new measures, the DENR announced that children 11 years old and below won’t be allowed inside the beach area.
The DENR, as well as the police, recently drew flak after the so-called Dolomite Beach drew large crowds over the weekend, including small children, despite the pandemic.
On Monday, Manila Police District chief Police Brigadier General Leo Francisco estimated a total of 65,000 visitors came to the beach on Sunday.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said more policemen will be deployed to the area to help ensure crowd control.
Antiporda claimed they already implemented a “five-minute rule,” whereby only 300 to 400 people were allowed to enter at a single time and the next batch can only come in five minutes after the previous batch entered.
He clarified that they had let children inside the beach premises because the IATF had allowed kids in public spaces. This only changed after they classified the dolomite beach as a “crowded open area.”
Everything will be recalibrated once a new alert level is announced, Antiporda said.
This developed as Antiporda also announced the beach will be closed from October 29 until November 3.
Tags: #DENR, #Dolomitesands, #ManilaBay, #superspreader, #IskoMoreno, #IATF, #COVID19